The "Best of the Year" lists are always difficult to determine and usually way off... especially with something as subjective as skateboarding. Especially when you throw an "Underground" in front of it. What does it mean? Is it just having one crazy part? Or putting out multiple parts and print coverage throughout the year? Can you be underground and have a cover? Does instagram count? Is one heavy part better than two solid online edits? Can my sponsors pay for it? As you can see, the deeper you go analyzing this stuff it starts to get kinda ridiculous. So after reading all the comments from Instagram as well as on the actual website we've decided to give kudos in a few different ways.
Readers Choice Underground SOTY - Japhey Dow
Japhey Dow might be a new name for many of you. His apparent lack of support from any major more "corporate" sponsors, amazing skating, and loads of output made him this years USOTY Readers Choice. If you check the comments section of the website and the TOA Instagram he is the clear winner. It's easy to forget that entire skate scenes exist in New York beyond the city, but Japhey Dow's footage is always a nice motivation to plan a trip upstate. His eclectic trick selection and penchant for pop-outs, combined with some of the crustiest of spots, was on display in Taryn Ward's videos, his Morning Bell part, Adam Bos's "SteelÔªø" video, and Medium Skate Mag's "A Good Initiative.‚"
* The battle of Dow vs Bos was close but ultimately Dow came out on top.
TOA Pick Undergound SOTY- Salomon "Sully" Cardenas
We wanted to give props to another name that really stood out this year. Based on video coverage alone Sully was a no brainer for us. Not many people could stockpile enough footage to satisfy their board sponsor, their shoe sponsor, their truck sponsor, and their wheel sponsor in a single year. Salomon did so with style, and capped it all with the one of the most compelling arguments for the airfoot we've ever seen.
TOA Pick Underground SOTY Runner-up- Mark Humienik
We had such difficulty determining the TOA Pick that we decided to list our favorite runner-up as well. This renowned noseslide connoisseur managed to defy all odds by making some ill-favored tricks look appealing, thanks to his unique style. For evidence, look no further than his "Its Time part‚", featuring the best smith grind kickflip we've ever seen, and some next level blunt variations. We are looking forward to see what Mark does next.
Brand of the Year - WKND
After compiling all of the votes, write-in names, and looking at our initial list we quickly realized that no brand had a stronger presence than WKND this year. WKND is always coming out swinging with some of the most entertaining and hilarious video offerings in skateboarding, not to mention they are doing it all while mixing in an insanely high level of skating. Watch the alleyway antics of Alex Schmidt and the tasteful trick selection of Trevor Thompson (and a family vacation to Paris) in "Sir Palmer‚", Christian Maalouf AKA "pop god" in his pro part for WKND, Sully's official introduction to the team, Alexis design skateable sculptures in Sweden, or just watch the dudes lug some old ramps around with U-hauls and tell "Stories."
Did we miss anything? Tell us what you think.